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Guan Chenchen, Olympic balance beam champion, leaves gymnastics for college

Guan Chenchen

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 03: Chenchen Guan of Team China competes during the Women’s Balance Beam Final on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Guan Chenchen, the Tokyo Olympic balance beam champion, has left gymnastics to attend college, according to China’s gymnastics federation.

In recent months, there were conflicting Chinese media reports on whether Guan, who enrolled at Zhejiang University, retired from the sport.

A federation contact said Friday in an email that the 18-year-old Guan “has retired from her artistic gymnastics career, and started her college life in a new stage.”

In Tokyo, Guan became the the third Chinese woman to win an Olympic balance beam title after Liu Xuan (2000) and Deng Linlin (2012).

China went one-two with Guan, who was the last gymnast to go in the eight-woman final, and Tang Xijing, ahead of bronze medalist Simone Biles, who returned for that event final after sitting out competition due to the twisties.

At the previous Olympics in 2016 in Rio, China did not win an individual women’s artistic gymnastics medal for the first time since 1988.

Tang is on the Chinese team for the world championships that start this weekend in Liverpool, England. Biles is on an indefinite, perhaps permanent, break from gymnastics.

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